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Seneca Falls sets out to boost small businesses

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  • Staff Report 

The Town of Seneca Falls, in conjunction with the Seneca Falls Development Corporation (SFDC), is set to boost small business in Seneca Falls thanks in part to a recently awarded Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP) grant. 

A public information meeting will be held for interested parties on Tuesday, May 30th at 7pm at the Seneca Falls Recreation Center located at 35 Water Street in Seneca Falls.

The Seneca Falls MAP is structured to help encourage the cultivation of new small businesses while also supporting existing small businesses looking to expand. Made possible through a grant from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the program carries a focus on entrepreneurship and job creation for low-moderate income earners.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Complete program details will be shared at the information meeting, along with guidelines and applications for those who are eligible. The application period will be open from May 30th through June 30th, 2023 and the SFDC will remain available to answer questions and help guide interested parties through the application process.

“The Microenterprise Assistance Program is another way we are working to stimulate downtown business and help fill our open commercial spaces,” shared Mike Ferrara, Seneca Falls Town Supervisor. “Revitalizing a downtown area is a constant, step-by-step process, and we’re excited to add yet another program that helps support the formation and expansion of small businesses in Seneca Falls.”

The Seneca Falls MAP, which will be administered by the Seneca Falls Development Corp, will provide at least $178,500 in small business assistance through grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 with only a 10% equity match requirement.

Businesses will be subject to specific eligibility requirements, and if selected, grant funds can be used for the following types of expenses:

  • Rent, Mortgage, and Utilities
  • Inventory (finished goods, raw materials/components, etc.)
  • Marketing Expenses (advertising and promotion, etc.)
  • Small Equipment (such as items required for a worker’s job function, etc.)
  • Furniture, Fixtures, and Decor
  • Supplies (operational items)
  • Soft Costs (service providers, consultants, etc.)

Business sectors including industry, retail, service provision, and tourism are all eligible to apply, and each applicant will be placed into one of two categories:

  • Start-Up Business – These businesses must be started or owned by low-moderate income persons directly, and/or be businesses that will create additional jobs for low-moderate income persons. To be considered a “start-up” business, it must either be brand new or have been in operation fewer than six months from the May 30th application start date.
  • Existing Business – These businesses must have five or fewer employees, including the owner(s) of the business.  The business must either be owned by low-moderate income persons or it must create one or more new jobs, the majority of which must be taken by or made available to low-moderate income persons.

“Revitalizing Seneca Falls isn’t an overnight fix,” says Greg Zellers, SFDC Director, “but through consistent efforts…including the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the $600,000 Building Improvement Fund, this $210,000 MAP grant, and several other opportunities we’re working to secure, we’re determined to build a stronger and more vibrant Seneca Falls.”

“Millions of dollars in investments are being made in Seneca Falls by those in both the public and private sectors,” continued Zellers, “and this just doesn’t happen if those making the investments don’t embrace a vision and see the potential for imminent economic growth.”No reservations are necessary to attend the informational meeting about the Microenterprise Assistance Program being held on May 30th, and anyone with questions or those wanting to know if they are potentially eligible, can contact Greg Zellers, SFDC Director, via email at [email protected] for assistance.